AHSCKNYE: Into the Mystic — Mystical Presence

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

Looking for God’s presence outside of ourselves is one of the favorite pastimes of we human beings. I had my own “Where is God?” moment at my mother’s bedside just a few days before she died earlier this month (in Dec. 2015).

As I watched this formidable and faithful woman, shriveled and helpless, trapped inside her naturally aging body, struggle through the final days of her illness, I asked, “Where are you God?” My mother, by all accounts of her faith, lived her life as rightly as she could. She stood by her family. She never drank, smoked and only cursed when her long fuse ran short. She sacrificed herself for her children and never once doubted that God would take care of her, even in the darkest days of her life.

And, this is her reward? To lie suffering in bed, spending her days either sleeping or crying? It seemed too cruel, like God had abandoned her — and me.
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AHSCKNYE: Into the Mystic — Mystical Prayer

By: Jubilee! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

For anyone who has studied the Law of Attraction or listened to Abraham, the ancient wisdom channeled by Esther Hicks, the Apostle Paul’s words in today’s reading (Philippians 4:4-9)  may seem familiar. It should, because what Paul outlines is how to activate the Law of Attraction — or put another way, how to start moving out of our ego and into our higher, Divine Self.

First, he tells them, be grateful. “Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, Rejoice!” This word, “rejoice” in Greek simply means, to be glad. The first step to raising your vibration — to stepping out of ego — is to rejoice, to be glad, even when everything around you is working hard to make, or keep you, sad and in the dumps.

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ACHSKNYE: Into the Mystic — Seeing in the Dark

By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (Luke 21:29-33), we encounter a story that the traditional Christian church has used as proof that one day, Jesus will come back. As a good Southern Baptist kid, I believed in what they call The Second Coming. The story is terrifying — the moon turns to blood and Jesus descends from the clouds on his white steed, fiery sword in hand ready to cut down the infidels and resurrect the faithful into eternal glory.

All this from a guy we tend to call The Prince of Peace. Sounds more like what our modern day terrorists are promising to do to the world.

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Via Negativa: Pacing the Cage — The Cage of Gluttony

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (Mark 10:17-22), we find our guy giving us what seems to be a pretty harsh lesson on how to get out of the cage of gluttony. He’s approached by a man who kneels before him and asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus’ answer is one of heresy to our capitalist ears. “Sell what you own and give your money to the poor,” Jesus tells him. My how this one sentence from Jesus has sent so many modern preachers and religious folks into a tizzy. They have done everything they can to minimize the impact of this answer, especially those preacher types who fill stadiums and live in huge mansions with personal jets and vacation homes.

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Via Negativa: Pacing the Cage — The Cage of Isolation

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In preparing for today’s meditation, I sat down a wrote out a list of things that make me feel either connected or disconnected from creation, myself and others.

Some of the things that made me feel disconnected were: fear, anger, frustration, anxiety, yearning, worry, hatred, judgment, envy, loneliness and defensiveness.

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Via Positiva: A Time to Embrace — Embrace Kindness

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

Our ancient Hebrew cousins knew a thing or two about how kindness sometimes felt like cruelty. This was sort of the modus operandi of the Hebrew God, who seemed to favor a quid pro quo system that said, “If you keep the law, I will prosper you. If you don’t keep the law, watch out — you’ll be barren and destitute.”

But, it’s argued in this line of thinking that God is doing you a favor in that punishment because showing you the error of your ways is the best way to get you back on track — back to practicing the love of neighbor and kindness that God requires.

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Via Positiva: A Time to Embrace — Embrace Letting Go

By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

Our Jesus story this morning (John 20:15-18) reminds me of that recent commercial about toilets. In one commercial, a man is jogging while a woman clings to his back repeatedly saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“Nobody likes a clinger,” the man says to the camera in an exasperated tone.

It’s certainly a funny way to sell a toilet that they promise will wash away the most determined clinger. I think if Jesus had known about this meme that’s what he would have said to Mary that morning when she become the first person to greet him after his resurrection from the tomb.

Instead, he’s reported to have said, “Do not hold on to me,” when Mary touched him.

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Via Positiva: A Time to Embrace — Embrace What Matters

By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

Loving everyone like we love ourselves and seeing ourselves in everyone in this world, whether they be a loved one, a friend, a stranger or an enemy is a lovely sentiment. I’m sure everyone in the room agrees it’s the right thing to believe.

But, the author of today’s Christian Scripture reading (James 1:19-27) wants to know, do you act on those beliefs or are you just enamored with the beautiful words?

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Via Positiva: A Time to Embrace – Embrace Openness

By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

In this morning’s Jesus story (Mark 7: 31-35), our guy shows us a two-step process to embrace openness. First, we have to get away from the crowd. Jesus didn’t heal this deaf man out in front of everyone. Instead, the scriptures say, he did it in private, where no one could see him perform this miracle.

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Via Positiva: A Time to Embrace — Embrace Insight

By: JUBILEE! Minister Candace Chellew-Hodge

Ah yes, Jesus, just like Galileo and those other great people through history, knew what it felt like to be misunderstood. And nowhere was he misunderstood the most but by the people who knew him best — those good men and women of his hometown of Nazareth.

In today’s passage (Mark 6:1-6), we find our guy teaching at the local synagogue on the Sabbath, expounding on the scriptures and sharing his insights with those who meant the most to him.

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